You are working at your desk, trying to ignore the tingling or numbness you have had for months in your hand and wrist. Suddenly, a sharp, piercing pain shoots through your wrist and up your arm. Is it just a passing cramp? More than likely, you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS,) a painful, progressive condition caused by nerve compression.
CTS results from impingement of the Median Nerve, which runs from the neck, down the arm, then through bones in the wrist (carpal tunnel) to supply the hand and thumb. Irritation to this nerve often results in numbness, tingling, pain and loss of grip strength in the hand and thumb, as well as pain radiating from the neck down the arm.
CTS most commonly occurs after repetitive use of the arm, wrist, hand and fingers during work or leisure activities. Cashiers, hairdressers, tailors/seamstresses, musicians, artists, assembly-line workers, keyboard and computer workers, and jewelers are all examples of people whose work-related tasks involve the repetitive wrist movements associated with CTS.
While traditional medical treatment for chronic CTS cases involves surgery performed at the wrist, many patients are looking for non-surgical approaches. One consideration for CTS sufferers is to undergo a cervical (neck) evaluation from a qualified cervical chiropractor. If cervical vertebrae are displaced through trauma or overuse, impingement of the nerves involved in CTS can occur. Unless the cervical misalignment is addressed, CTS symptoms may persist.
Many CTS patients are successfully treated with chiropractic care administered to the cervical spine. The number of treatments required per individual varies according to the severity of the cervical injury and symptoms. The first visit to a cervical chiropractor usually involves a spinal exam and diagnostic tests, such as cervical X-rays and thermal imaging. From there, the practitioner will determine a care plan. Patients usually notice an improvement in symptoms during the first days or weeks of treatment.
With over 20 years of experience as a specialist in the upper cervical spine, Upper Cervical Chiropractor Dr. Erin Elster, D.C., has been working with CTS patients for the past two years on Maui. For more information on upper cervical care and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, contact Dr. Elster in Kahului at (808) 866-6551 or www.erinelster.com.